Braves 8, Reds 0 (By Kyle B.)

The Braves continued their road trip with a stop at a little league field named Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. For those of you new to the Braves Journal Community, you’ll want to take a minute to read this and familiarize yourself with the virtues of the City of Cincinnati. I don’t have much to add to Mac’s legendary analysis, but I’ll just point out this happened near Cincinnati when I was in law school. I’m not saying it’s a sign, but it’s probably a sign.

Due to Major League Baseball’s draconian blackout restrictions, I enjoyed this game with the company of Don, Jim, and Grandma on the radio side. I also played some Diablo III. No complaints. The Braves turned to their ace, Julio Teheran, to get the team back in the win column after exhibiting a master class in losing the previous night. Entering play, the Braves sat 1.5 games back of the Giants for the final Wild Card spot.

The slumping Reds countered with David Holmberg, a pitcher with 6.1 big league innings under his belt and a 11.37 career ERA. As ‘Rissa pointed out yesterday, Holmberg started the game with a 16.87 ERA for the 2014 campaign. At first pitch, I expected him to throw a perfect game.

In the second, the Braves got on the board with Andrelton Simmons’ second home run of the road trip. The shot came after a solid, seven pitch at-bat. In the top of the third, Holmberg predictably turned into a dumpster fire. After Heyward was awarded a single on appeal to lead off the inning, Phil Gosselin laid down a bunt single. Freddie Freeman followed with a walk to load the bases with nobody out, and Justin Upton extended his hit streak with a two run single. Chris Johnson doubled in a run in the next at-bat, and Evan Gattis made the game 5-0 with a sacrifice fly. This inning would also feature: an intentional walk to B.J. Upton (LoLoLoL) , a bean ball to Teheran, and a bases loaded walk to Heyward. Holmberg left the game with two outs in the 3rd and the Braves staking a 6-0 lead. To answer your question, yes, Holmberg managed to raise his ERA to 18.56.

At this point I spaced out a bit, but the Braves continued to add runs. The score was pushed to 7-0 on a Simmons fielder’s choice which scored Freeman. Justin Upton added another run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly. Unless it was a fever dream, Skip Schumaker pitched a scoreless inning in this game for Cincinnati. It was that kind of game.

Teheran was exceptional, going six innings while allowing four hits and no walks. With this performance, he dropped his ERA for the season below the 3.00 mark. James Russell pitched two shut-out innings, and the game was mopped up by Luis Avilan for a 8-0 Braves win.

With three more games against the struggling Reds, it would be nice to add a few more wins before heading to Flushing. Stay positive.

184 thoughts on “Braves 8, Reds 0 (By Kyle B.)”

  1. Not sure if it’s been mentioned but Joey Terds has hit a HR in 5 consecutive game and it really pushing to turn a lost season around the last month. There’s been talk lately from other blogs how players that have received a call up or 2, then get put back in the minors, how they essentially give up for a while. Whether this theory is true or not, Joey sure sucked for most of the season and is taking right now.

  2. Thanks for linking Mac’s hilarious description of Cincy. The man was a genius. I do like Skyline chile though.

    Dumbass moment of the game. Simmons swinging for the fences against Schumacher. Nearly swung out of his jock.

  3. Gosh, I miss Mac. Looking back, he had a gift for words that deserved a better audience than us idiots. It’s like your friend being Morgan Freeman and he narrated my life for a living.

  4. Where is this magic place you plan on playing Gattis on a daily basis? He is such a liability in LF that any offensive positive he gives us he would surely take back in defensive woes.

    I think we should do what a lot of people had been mentioning. Find an American league team that is looking for a big bat. Offer Gattis up as long as that team takes on B.J. Upton and the entirety of his contract.

    A team that comes to mind is the Seattle Mariners. They have two very good young arms in Roenis Elias and James Paxton. Both are big powerful lefties. They, also, have Jesus Montero who is have a great year in the Minors who can catch or play first and has always been known for power but has been a disappointment thus far. Also, they have James Jones who is a super fast CF who will has been pushed back with their aquisition of Austin Jackson.

    Obviously, trades have to even out for each teams needs in the end. So, this is what I would propose to even things out.

    Gattis (the key for the Mariners) – They would have a few years of control
    B.J. (Our bad pickup) – They would owe roughly 45 million to over 3 years
    Gus Schlosser, Cody Martin, or Ian Thomas – whichever they wanted
    Kyle Kubitza – can play all outfield spots

    Elias or Paxton – (the key for us) we control either one for a few years
    Jesus Montero (their mistake in the Pineda trade – control for a few years
    James Jones – speedy young outfielder with potential, control for a few years
    Patrick Kevlehin – 24yo power hitting 3rd basemen from Double AA

    Honestly, I think we would bet Elias in the deal. I do not see them giving up Paxton, but Elias is a powerful pitcher who could do very well in the National League. Jesus is having a monster year after losing weight, but I think they do not trust him is why he is still in the Minors. James Jones is a nice chip to get as a 4th outfielder. Patrick Kevlehin has been consistent in the minors thus far.

    They get another big bat in Gattis, a potential starter or reliever out of the pitchers mentioned, but to get rid of B.J.s money, I would even go higher than those cause of the money that we would save would allow us to do so many things. Kubitza has potential for us, but I would rather have Kevlehin for 3rd baseman of the future and get Heyward longterm with some of the money saved from B.J. leaving.

    Honestly, I doubt this trade would ever happen because the Mariners are not known for wasting money either which is basically what they would have in having to take B.J. in the trade, but their is that chance that they might think he could turn it around in which case they would be getting two bats in the deal. Who knows?

  5. I’m not sure they will take any major steps with BJ (benching, trading) until Justin is no longer needed.

    I think BJ is worth more to the Braves than he is to any other team. I’m not sure he isn’t gonna snap out of it either.

  6. @6 If you doubt this trade would ever happen, why even waste time suggesting it? I also agree with you, there is no way the M’s would make such deal. Honestly, I am happy with Gattis being a catcher.

    Maybe I should have just said I would rather keep him than trading him. You take away the contracts of BJ, but we are left with two gaps to fill. I don’t think we can find a player at Gattis’ production with the cost of BJ’s contract.

  7. Since we are in the mood of extending players, can we extend Justin? I still don’t understand why we had to extend CJ, but Freeman, Jupton, Heyward, Simmons, and Gattis would be a great core to keep. Of course, we are also stuck with Bupton and CJ.

  8. @9
    23.5 million over 3 years is a tradable contract for CJ. It’s essentially a 4 War free agent over the duration of the contract.

  9. To be honest, I do not believe there is anyway to keep both Heyward and J. Upton. J. Upton is going to be asking a lot of money come contract time and will probably have plenty of offers. Heyward will more than likely be the easier sign between the two.

    B.J. is wasted money for sure. There is nothing we can really do about that at this point. It would be nice to upgrade at third base for sure. I do not see it happening though.

    Here’s what we should do about third base. We should all really hope that this is a down year for Chris Johnson, LOL. Even in a down year like this one, he is still on pace for 70 RBIs which is more than last year and almost as many runs. The sad part about that though is imagine what those RBI totals would be if he was having the hitting year this year that he had last year.

    In the end, I think we are all going to have plenty to talk about this coming winter.

  10. “Where is this magic place you plan on playing Gattis on a daily basis?”

    He might slot in well for us at catcher.

  11. I know complaining about our announcers is nothing new, and I rarely do it because of that, but I just heard about the “the Reds are the oldest MLB franchise” comment made last night and thought someone on this board needed to address it. It’s shameful enough the Reds are pushing that lie in light of hosting the All-Star game next season (I mean, MLB’s own official historian has called them out on it), but for the Braves own announcers, of all teams, to happily go along with it…well, that’s terrible. If they want to address it to discuss why pretty much everyone says the Reds’ claim is false, that discussion would be appropriate during a Braves/Reds broadcast. To be the announcers for the team that is actually the oldest continuous franchise, though, and give credence to the Reds’ false claim is inexcusable. Just avoid the conversation altogether if you’re not going to challenge their claim, or at least mention some disagreement over the claim exists.

  12. Say what you will about Luis Avalon, he’s marginally better at pitching that Skip Schumaker.

  13. @14 – It’s tough to develop your confidence in pitching when you only do it poorly once or twice in your career. You really have to pitch poorly all the time to develop the kind of confidence that’s helped Avilan remain such a poor pitcher.

  14. In fairness to Schumaker, he may be one of those guys who can not focus unless it is a save situation.

  15. Hey now! Schumaker was hitting 90 on the gun! Y’all shouldn’t hate on the guy just because he walked???? BJ Upton.

  16. For the record, I find these “we can’t dump BJ because it would make Justin angry” posts slightly offensive. They played for years and years of their life on different teams. They’re not conjoined twins.

  17. If keeping BJ would give Justin a reason to extend at a fair price, I’d say run that .500 OPS out there until the day after he signs. But, I doubt that the Braves treatment of Upton Minor will affect Upton Maiorem’s decision.

  18. From last thread,

    McCann for BJ…very interesting. Yanks would have to pay some money, and we would have to get a monster return for Gattis.

    Gattis is right at average on defense. Just because he’s allowed more passed balls doesn’t mean he’s not average. There’s no doubt he’s below average blocking pitches as he’s leading the league in wild pitches allowed, but he’s slightly above average in framing and arm. He hasn’t thrown out a ton this year, but he’s not being run on very much either.His DRS for the year is -2, but his overall defense ranks 5.9, according to Fangraphs, hardly worthy of praise, but not worthy of being tagged terrible either. He’s 7th in the Majors in WAR among catchers. His defense is OK and his offense is well-above average.

  19. How much of Gattis’ defense against runners (not being run on much) is attributable to having two pitchers who pick off more than their fair share of runners in Wood and Teheran?

    If Oso Blanco were catching Maddux instead (who never was good/interested in holding runners close) would his defensive numbers be down?

  20. McCann for BJ? Nevermind the fact this would never happen…why would *we* do this? McCann is done. We don’t want him as our catcher. We have a better catcher already. Giving up good players just to get rid of BJ is not the way to do this. We’re better off keeping BJ in most of these fantasy scenarios.

  21. I seriously think we can move BJ if we’re willing to pay ~half his remaining salary. Without giving up other players. A gamble on BJ Upton at $8 million/year isn’t prohibitive for 10-12 other teams in baseball.

    Edit: It would help our chances if he actually played as though he were at the front of the showcase.

  22. The “both Uptons are a package deal” thing is just weird to me. You never heard anyone say “we can’t cut Joe, it might piss Phil off” when it came to Neikros.

    RE: Gattis – it’s all just strum and drang unless we have some definitive pieces identified coming back. Should we trade Evan Gattis for the bag of balls we sent to the independent leagues for Kerry Ligtenberg? No; no we should not. Is there a package of value in return for which we should trade Evan Gattis and promote Bethancourt to play in the majors? Yes; of course there is.

    The level of talent required to move him is going to fluctuate for pretty much every individual, but there’s obviously a level of talent for which you would trade him. He’s not Mike Trout. I’m pretty sure that if the Nats agreed to take on Gattis and half of Beej’s contract in return for us taking the Bryce Harper head case off of their hands, we’d make that play.

  23. Not that I’m in favor of acquiring McCann, but it’s not just dumping BJ, it’s dumping BJ and his salary. I get how trading Gattis feels, but it’ll feel better when we package him up for Mookie Betts and Brock Holt/Garin Cecchini, or something like that, to help cover up the CJ mistake.

    On Gattis’ defense, what I’m actually mainly thinking about is his game calling. But catcher run prevention is complicated and nebulous, and I just trust the Braves’ assessment, at the end of the day. The team wouldn’t let Peanut suggest that his defense ain’t so hot if it wasn’t already widely known by teams. He’s not nearly as bad as Doumit or anything, and yes, he might improve, but this is the peak, offensively. People aren’t speaking to the BABIP thing. This is his peak value.

  24. @18 bWAR says Josh Donaldson is the best player in MLB. Or more in tune with the correct intention of the metric – Josh Donaldson has affected his teams ability to win games more than any other player in MLB.

    And I ain’t intending to start an argument on the efficacy of the defensive aspects of WAR.

  25. I’m not saying they can’t dump him. Just saying they have one other thing to consider. If his presence sweetens the pot at all, he’s worth more to them than any other team.

    If there was another team that really wanted his contract, that’d be one thing, but any deal at this point would be based on his relative value to each team. I just don’t think another team has more to gain from his presence.

    Regardless, I don’t think he is near the end of his leash. Uggla was here a long time, and he never showed any improvement. He played a position that could be filled by many and he had a clear replacement. BJ, at least, has played better than last year.

  26. @20 – I agree. I’m glad that someone has finally written something about that.

    I’m sure that cutting Tommy Aaron didn’t make Hank mad and want to be traded.

    Personally, I want to keep Evan Gattis. But to Sam’s point if the return is right then you trade him.

    @28 – I very much disagree. I am positive that for BJ to be traded the Braves will have to include a player AND eat probably a large portion of his salary. Unless the contract coming back to the Braves is just as onerous.

  27. @31

    Right. Or Stanton or Alex Gordon or whoever’s at the top of any other worthwhile total metric.

    My point is (and has always been) that the Braves have an MVP-caliber player on the roster right now having an MVP-caliber year. It’s passing basically unnoticed nationally and is hard to convince people of even here. Heyward ranks 2nd in the NL in Total Runs and bWAR. He ranks 3rd in the NL in fWAR.

    If the season ended today and I had an NL MVP ballot, I’d vote 1. Lucroy, 2. Heyward, 3. McCutchen. And it wouldn’t be outlandish. (Because my opinion has so little practical value, it is my prerogative to ignore Giancarlo Stanton, whose success I find abhorrent. Which is why no one will ever be stupid enough to give me a ballot.)

  28. You would trade pretty much any player if the return looked good. But what are we realistically going to get for Gattis? A 4th starter? There’s no other open positions on our team that aren’t already filled by guys under contract. They aren’t going to be able to move BJ, that’s as much of a pipe dream as moving Uggla was.

    Trading the guy slugging over 500 that’s under team control for several more years is just crazy to me. A large portion of the fanbase would be upset as well. Not a good idea at all. Just keep him and move him to DH when the NL adopts it in the next couple of years.

    Edit: and Kershaw should be the NL MVP, and the vote shouldn’t even be close.

  29. @35

    If he pitches the next 6 weeks as well as he’s been pitching, he’ll be right there at the end of the year, maybe even in a “not even close” sense.

    Right now, though, his season isn’t particularly different from Kris Medlen’s in 2012 (more innings pitched, but a higher rate of runs allowed). Spectacular in every way, but without all the innings, it’s not good enough to win the award. But yeah, if his ERA is still under 2 and he crossed the 200 innings mark, it’d be hard to ignore him.

  30. No one has gotten outs the way BJ has. He just collects them. He should definitely win the Cy Young.

  31. Underrated aspect of why the Braves are so bad at scoring runs: pitchers and pinch hitters. Braves pitchers have the lowest wRC+ in the NL (-41; best is Cubs pitchers with a 16 wRC+), but they also have the most plate appearances by pitchers, which is obviously a pretty terrible combination.

    You can blame Fredi to some extent, and I can certainly remember some games this year where he made utterly inexplicable decisions to allow starters to hit for themselves, but for the most part, he’s just responding to the fact that Braves pinch hitters are also the worst in the NL… by a lot. 23 wRC+, next-worst is the Cubs with 36 wRC+. The bench is just killing this team.

    I tend to scoff when Joe Simpson talks about how a lack of fundamentals (e.g., pitchers getting down the bunt) is really holding the Braves back, but there could be something to it.

  32. If the plan is to remove Gattis and add Bethancourt — to what is already one of the worst offenses Braves fans have ever seen — then we probably need a new plan.

  33. Today’s lineup:

    1. Heyward, RF
    2. Bonifacio, CF
    3. Freeman, 1B
    4. Justin, LF
    5. Johnson, 3B
    6. La Stella, 2B
    7. Simmons, SS
    8. Laird, C
    9. Minor, P

  34. And the over/under on HRs off Minor in that joint?

    If he keeps it to a pair of solo blasts like last time, we might be in good shape.

  35. Gattis has more value to an AL team or team with a bad, LH first baseman than us. I wouldn’t be bent out of shape if we turned him into something good.

  36. The lineup today looks really good. It is something we should consider as the season goes along with the exception that Gattis be at catcher of course. Also, I agree with you @csg @47 about Gosselin perhaps taking some ABs away from C.J. when we face RH pitching.

    I really like Bonifacio behind Heyward. At the rate Heyward is getting on, it opens up for some early game small ball.

  37. Did someone just slightly suggest that the Braves trade the Legend, El Oso Blanco?

    Get a rope.

  38. Chip, you dullard, the Giants leading the Nationals IS NOT good news for the Braves.

  39. For God sakes. Joe Morgan is in the Reds booth. Chip is Vin Scully compared to him. Dude never stops talking!!!!! Ears bleeding.

  40. Cincy’s defense is killing us this game. It should easily be 4-0.

    Broadcasts are awkwardly boring when the commentators cannot (or refuse to?) comment on the biggest story of the game…

  41. Prediction: fredi runs minor out in the 9th in a 1-0 game to “try to let him finish what he started”. 2 run jack later and people blame minor and not fredi

  42. He’s not taking Minor out until he gives up a hit. You may as well make peace with it now.

    Nor should he, by the way.

  43. @63 – That’s funny. But 1-0 is not 2-0, and the 9th is not the 8th. Also, everyone would more likely blame the guys who got 9 hits and 2 walks, and only scored one run, which is who they blamed last time, too.

  44. I have already blamed them. You know, it is possible to blame walker, wren, fredi, and the players. I have. And all have been defended by butt-hurt braves fans who nearly to a man believe I’m being too harsh. And regardless of who I criticize, someone will say “oh how can you criticize him and not them?”

    Though, granted nobody defends Johnson, uggla, upton

  45. 66- You can blame them, and blaming Fredi is usually not only accurate but fun, but let’s see if there’s actually anything to blame them for first. Just a thought.

  46. @66 – Yeap. And plenty people blame Fredi for plenty things. And regardless of anything you say, someone is bound to disagree with you. That’s how opinions work.

  47. @72 – Someone’s going to win everynight. As long as someone loses too, I’m happy.

  48. Braves need to get to 90 wins. Everything else will take care of itself. And Gattis needs to lead off next inning regardless

  49. @74 – Fredi’s gotta be hoping Mike gives up a clean single and then gets an easy double play, to take him off the hook regarding that decision.

  50. @71, no, YOU are bound to disagree. You have an inordinate amount of interest in what I post. You are not an unbiased observer. You have a vendetta

  51. @78 – “Listen, I’ve blamed everybody for everything. And every single time, some whiny Braves fan thinks I’m too harsh.”

    Meanwhile, your team was winning, and throwing a no-hitter, and you didn’t enjoy it because you were pre-emptively blaming everyone for everything.

    You are deep well of irony.

  52. Uggggggggggggggggggghh. No-hitter and lead over at once.

    Edit: GameDay, that was a line drive the way BJ is a center fielder.

  53. Poop on a stick. I was begging him not to throw a breaking ball, but Gattis didn’t hear me. Still, helluva a game pitched by a guy we were really really worried about just one week ago.

  54. How in the world are they not challenging that after BJ’s been wrung up on it 3 times already?

  55. @82, my team was winning when I knew they would lose. I didn’t get it quite right, but almost. Minor would be stretched in a close game and it would result in giving away a game we should have won.

    Are you, a knowledgeable fan, really going to pull that “you’re not a real fan” junk on me? I have seen over 2000 braves games in my life, and in spite of all the organization does well, they have been destroyed by the same handful of things for a quarter century, all of which I have a meticulous recall of. You’ve decided that something about my tone means that you are assigned to police my posts. You simmer with anger toward me, some anonymous Internet person whom you don’t know, and then when I point out what is obvious, you pretend you are an impartial critic. BS

  56. Sometimes you try…and you fail. I’m absolutely happy to have seen Minor try and get it though.

  57. Blame Wren all day long for this bad offense and bench, but you can’t blame Fredi for leaving Minor in when he’s got a no-no going in the 8th. If we lose it’s because we can’t freaking hit, not because of Fredi (this time at least).

  58. @94

    Jesus! Could you give us a warning next time you’re going to shower us in self-aggrandizing, superficial bullshit like that?

  59. @95, because a no hitter is more important than a playoff berth. Sadly, even if minor was only working on a shut out, he would’ve been stretched the same. And a bevy of braves fans would’ve insisted that a pitcher with an expected .850 OPS against (minor in third time through order) was just as valid an option as a pitcher with a .600 OPS against (walden)

  60. @94 – I didn’t accuse you of not being a “real fan.” I’m saying you complain constantly. And you complain that people who disagree with you are just complaining.

    And John, if I had a ‘vendetta’ against you, I wouldn’t have debated patient and politely with you last night for an hour. I would have stopped talking to you entirely after the Fredi-race baiting incident.

    It’s just your personality, John. You get frustrated watching the game, and you lash out at everything. The Braves losing a game became about racial politics in America. You bringing up race that time became me “baiting” you, when you came out of nowhere with it. And this time, me challenging your generalizations that everyone would blame Mike Minor, and pointing out that no one was blaming Alex Wood last time, and to you it’s because I have a vendetta.

    And Mike wasn’t stretched. He threw 107 pitches. He didn’t go out for the 9th, but you’re mad that he would have, and the fact that he WOULD have, and THAT would be Fredi’s fault, is now Fredi’s fault, because he blew the game earlier than the 9th. But not really, it’s just me picking on you. Or something.

    Get a f’ing grip, man.

  61. @99 – John I talked to you last night for an hour in here, and we disagreed, and we agreed, and we did so politely, and we took eachother points and we countered eachothers points. I’m in no way a troll.

    If you meet three assholes in a day…

  62. It was clearly an either/or decision between a no-hitter and a playoff berth. No gray area at all.

  63. You can’t possibly have a problem with Mike pitching the 8th. He was throwing a no-hitter, and the first hit came on his 107th pitch. There was no exception being made for the sake of the no-hitter.

  64. It’s a fair debate as to whether he should have gotten the hypothetical opportunity at the 9th. You know if it had gotten that far, he was going to get the 9th. It was a foregone conclusion, but it’s a fair point that he shouldn’t.

    But the 8th, with less than 100 pitches. That was going to happen. That was going to happen without the no-hitter.

  65. @101, actually it is just you. Others have disagreed with me, but only you consistently. You’re the one who has not only become my personal troll but inferred all sorts of things about my character because of the fact I rail against the braves’ management on here. Oh that must mean I’m just inherently a “bigot” and an “asshole”. You are clueless. I’m venting, but the things I vent about are VALID, if hyperbolic. Your attempts to pretend you are merely patient and impartial are laughable. And again, I do not assume that means anything about you in your personal life–it’s just how you interact with your own perception of my perceived braves journal persona.

  66. I can’t handle this crap anymore, so I’m signing off for the night. I would advise you two to please get a room.

  67. @108 – John, after the Fredi-Latino thing, you came back a day later and made mention that you’d gone overboard, or made a mistake, or whatever your verbiage was, so I left it alone and have treated you with no hard feelings since that. As I’ve mentioned twice above, we got along fine two nights ago. (I said last night, but was mistaken, I was absent last night.)

    But about it being “just me…” Up above you said it was everybody…? No matter who you blame, somebody gets butt hurt and says you’re being too harsh. But now it’s only me? You “vent,” and by your own admission, blame everybody who you can possibly blame for everything that goes wrong, and then people “get butt-hurt” and say you’re “too harsh.” But now it’s just me…

    If it’s about the fact that I “consistently” disagree with you, well, that’s only because you’re always wrong, and such a delight while you’re at it.

  68. Making Chapman throw 30 pitches is at least a moral victory. Lets win this one AND insure that we don’t have to face him tomorrow.

  69. Hopefully we’ll get a chance for our closer to throw some pitches tonight too.

    But first Fredi plays the Varvaro card. Usually a very risky gambit.

  70. @113 – Think of it this way, if we get through all our bad relievers, then we’ll have the distinct advantage of having no bad relievers in the pen!

  71. Fredi should pitch backwards. Let Kimbrel pitch and then just work it from there. You can’t lose 1 run games this late in the year and have your best pitcher sitting.

  72. When Avilan or Hale gives up the game winner in the 12th Fredi will take comfort in the fact that he outsmarted the other dugout because Kimbrel is locked and loaded for the weekend games.

  73. First guessing is still hard.

    For the record, I would have used Kimbrel in the 9th and definitely in the 10th. Lesson: pitchers don’t always beat hitters, but that’s the way to bet.

  74. I follow the logic behind pitching around Ryan Doumit there… so you can get to the lefty who struggles against lefties, and then bring your lefty in… but I think in their calculus, they forgot it was Ryan Doumit they were pitching around.

  75. Also, am I the only one who hadn’t noticed how much Jason’s improved his slash line? .271/.355/.391? The ISO still isn’t there, but he’s done some serious work.

  76. He does. He looks like a pitcher when he’s facing a lefty.

    He’s been more open than ever for the whole year, but against lefties he opens up even wider, and then doesn’t stride back to the plate like he does against righties.

  77. @122, he’s gotten a huge number of infield hits during this improved period. His lack of power is still hurting us overall. But yeah he’s at least back up to mediocre rather than crappy.

  78. Can we use Varvaro, Hale, and Avilan in the same extra inning game and still win? That would be the triple lindy.

  79. @124 – They double switched to get Parra in to the game, so Bonifacio will get a shot at him, and he’s hit lefties better than righties, and then Freddie doesn’t give much of a damn about lefty or righty. That’s why pitching around Doumit didn’t make a ton of sense to me. You could have just gone after Doumit and done a straight one-for-one in the next inning and kept a bench player available.

  80. @127 – No, don’t sweat it. It’s the 11th. Hale’s good at the 11th. It’s the 12th he’s bad at.

  81. Geez, David Hale has the lowest strikeout percentage of any pitcher with a minimum of 70 IP this season. This guy has got to find a strikeout pitch, or he is never going to stick as even a fifth starter.

    Apropos: here comes the walkoff.

  82. To me, Hale at this point should be the long guy after Kimbrel. Let’s use Hale in sudden death, and save Kimbrel for when it is no longer sudden death?

    I realize most everyone here understands this already, but this is kind of my thing.

  83. The problem is that we’re not ever going to score. Ever. So even if you use Kimbrel you’ll still have to eventually use Hale and the rest of the gang. But yeah…maybe using Kimbrel before using Hale isn’t the craziest idea ever.

  84. That was one of those things I’ve mentioned before! The pitch itself was down the middle, but nowhere near the target, and Philips takes it and turns around and complains that it’s a strike.

    How does he know it missed the target? Guys peeking at the catcher must be way more common than we know.

  85. That inning going a little long, and Parra sitting on the bench might prove beneficial. NL relievers, especially lefty specialists, can’t be accustomed to cranking up all the way up, sitting 20 minutes and getting back out there.

  86. Listen Schiller–I don’t have the energy. Just stop feeling like you need to be my personal police. When you called the braves losers 2 days ago, that was hyperbolic too. But Who cares? I get the sentiment. Yes, they’ve won a lot of gm but it’s hard to escape ye feeling this team has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory historically and particularly under fredi/wren. I’m gonna vent and yes it will b hyperbolic. Don’t like it? Ask admin to ban me because I’m a negative nancy. Frankly I don’t give a sh–

  87. We’re going to want to create about a 2 run cushion before heading to the bottom 12th. That might be enough to get us to the 13th.

  88. @133- First guessing remains difficult. I am going back to second guessing.

    @134 – The thing is, any money, Hale is now going to pitch the 12th also. In a game like this, you need to be prepared to have a multiple inning guy, but he should come at the end of the line, in my mind.

  89. @149 – When Diaz was in the game it was “With all those years in the minors, you know the clubbies must have been scared to death when they saw him coming.” and then “I love how he tucks his glove behind him, but still crooks his wrist, as if the hitters would be able to see his glove anyway.”

    Now, apropos of nothing, it was “The worst thing for the Reds is that Diaz and Broxton have had 3 innings to work on the spread.”

    He just hates fat people. He always does it. I made my first comment BEFORE he took two cheap shots at Diaz, because I knew it was coming.

  90. We need the good Kimbrel now. Can’t have Kimbrel making us all look dumb. Fredi will never let us live it down.

  91. Justin sits offspeed more than any other Braves power hitter than I can remember. When he gets what he’s sitting on it’s pretty spectacular to watch.

  92. As much as I rail on these guys over doing the little things wrong (And I’m sure Anon21 thinks I’m a Joe Simpson clone for it.) Justin Upton is not just good, but he’s a gamesman at the plate.

    Earlier tonight, he took one just as deep, but well foul. And the cameras showed that Diaz was visibly distraught by it.

    So he got in the box, let Diaz set up, and then stepped back out, just to let Diaz think about that long one a little longer, and maybe give him a chance to telegraph the pitch selection. (Because he had ripped a hanger, and then stepped back in, and Diaz had nodded to the catcher, and then Justin stepped out. If he had stepped back in, and Diaz shook off the catcher, Justin would be able to guess ‘The catcher wanted to try that again, and Diaz is scared. Here goes a fastball.”)

    It was very Chipper-like.

  93. @142 – First guessing, … yeah, you know.

    Apparently managers can make decisions one doesn’t agree with but still come out ok. Who knew?

  94. F yes the braves won. And yes my pessimism precluded me from seeing it as a possibility. But I’m glad. And I want to run the table now.

  95. Great win, you give up only 2 hits and you strand all those runners this is a game you had to find a way to win and JUP came through! Keep on keepin on.

  96. Wait…what was that? I was repeatedly told by you negative nancys that we were gonna lose this game. You guys need to take a valium.

  97. @167 If you don’t want to read pessimism and complaining, why are you in the comment section of a sports blog?

  98. Mike’s saying in the post-game interview that he changed up his breaking ball, said Ervin Santana showed him his breaker and he took it out to the mound.

  99. Mike Minor pitched well. I think Hale has a shot at being a starter next season.

    We should all send a thank you card to the Dbacks front office.

  100. @170

    I’ll keep that in mind. Next time we have a pitcher get through the first inning without allowing a hit, I’ll be sure to preemptively complain about what Fredi is sure to do in three hours’ time and then get into a pointless fight with another commenter where I spout the most absurd BS about being able to see through time and predict the outcome of every Braves game since I’ve watched them for 24 years or some crap.

  101. @174, there’s history here you don’t understand. Many have complained fredi extends his starters too long. It has cost us games. Whether he is justified or not in a particular case, this much is true–fredi has no concept of the fact that pitchers fare worse each subsequent time through the order. None. And I personally think that of you make millions managing a baseball team it is inexcusable to not know that. And the fact that a slew of good-ol-boy GM’s hire some good-ol-boy mgr’s who despise stats and logic and game theory no more validates the fact our gm is a chimp or comforts me that we give away wins

  102. As frustrating as this team has been offensively and was looking last night with so many hits and so few runs, I think it’s important to remember how many runs some outstanding Cincy defense prevented. The Braves hitters did their jobs several times but had nothing to show for it. That makes ultimately winning it that much sweeter. They didn’t just enter Hibernation Mode and wait for the inevitable Cincy walk off.

    Thank you Justin Upton for being in a ridiculous hot streak. Having him and Freddie killing the ball at the same time has been quite fun.

  103. @177 Toss in a dose of Heyward a sprinkling of Gattis and a smidge of Johnson and you have an offense that can carry Simmons and (sigh) even BJ Upton.
    Your point is well taken about Cincy’s defense. Cozart is Simmons light out there.

    Hell, I thought that Bonafacio looked good out in center. He didn’t hit worth a damn but that seems to be the norm for Braves CFers.

  104. Ububba, this has definitely been the most enigmatic team I’ve watched. At least we’re not the Mets.

  105. Our fortunes mostly follow Freddie and Justin’s bats, with Gattis providing more of a foundation of offensive competency and our pitchers even more consistent.

  106. Didn’t read the article, but McGuirk was as involved in the Uggla and Upton contracts as anyone else. If Wren is fired, so should McGuirk.

  107. @175: I’ve stayed out of this, and I’m not going to search the distant past, but you can’t have it both ways. The ORIGINAL complaint about Fredi was that he didn’t leave in his starters long enough, wore out the bullpen, and cost us games. The NEW complaint, apparently, is that he leaves starting pitchers in too long and costs us games. This Goldilocks school of criticism is, to say the least, underwhelming. Beyond the criticism that he lets pitchers hit late in the game sometimes just before they collapse, adding offensive ineptitude to pitching ineptitude (a criticism that would have more force if we had a pinch hitter worth a damn) Sam is right about managers: there are no sabermetric rules of managing; you’re managing people, not strat-o-matic cards. That doesn’t mean you can’t make mistakes — everyone does. But you’ve got to do what you think is right and go with the consequences and learn. Just hope you don’t get stuck with Dusty Baker.

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